News Detail

Cum Laude Society Inducts 23 New Members

Carrying on an Episcopal tradition despite this unprecedented year, 23 students were inducted into Episcopal’s Cum Laude Society on April 16. The students were recognized for their academic achievement and contributions to the School community.

The Cum Laude Society, a national organization founded in 1906, recognizes juniors and seniors for outstanding scholarship, leadership, and character. This year’s inductees are:

From the Class of 2021:
Minta Brice
Maria Claiborne
Ben Condemi
Samantha Funkhouser
Thomas Gibert
Debby Lee
Yoyo Lu
Sophie Novitsky
Lucy Peacock
Brenton Smith
Finn Walker

From the Class of 2022:
Patsy Daum
Audrey Davies
Zailie Diaz
Thomas Johnson
Sam Lipschutz
Lucie Morton
Anna Ren
Olivia Taiwo
Susan Wang
Yoyo Wang
Bobby Zahorsky
Charles Zheng

Seniors, current Cum Laude Society members, and new inductees gathered in Pendleton Hall while the rest of the students viewed the ceremony online. Current members announced the names of inductees to applause from the audience, then read citations they had written that outlined the student’s contributions to the School and included remarks by a faculty member. For new society members who participated virtually in the ceremony, their picture and name were shown on a projector screen while the citation was read.

The ceremony began with an introduction from Dean of Academic Affairs Nate Ebel and Head of School Charley Stillwell. This year’s keynote address was delivered by Benjamin Skipper, who grew up on Episcopal’s campus as a faculty child. Skipper is the director of graduate and undergraduate programs at the Jefferson Scholars Program in Charlottesville, Va

“Take a moment to celebrate all that you’ve been able to accomplish,” Skipper told the students.

He then set forth guiding principles for students to follow as they navigate life after high school and beyond. First, he advised students to pay attention to the core values of colleges, workplaces, or other institutions. “Too often, people gloss over the core values of a school, believing they are ‘basic life stuff,’ but I would argue that they aren’t basic. … It takes consistent commitment and exercise to embody them.”

Noting the three phases of school life, Skipper strongly encouraged students to participate and maintain balance in each area: academics, extracurricular, and social life.

“Choose exploration over optimization as you continue on your academic journey,” he said. “Your major doesn’t define your profession or how successful you’re going to be. Neither does the name of the institution on the degree. There is only one name that truly matters on your first degree, and that is the one that you sign every day.”

Watch the ceremony on YouTube.
View photos on Flickr.